The students enjoyed drinks, collected their certificates and shook each other’s hands.
That unfortunately was pretty much the last time this year anything like that could happen, both at Quilter and across the country, due to the Covid pandemic.
However, despite this huge change of circumstances we have since had another cohort of fast-track students start and subsequently complete the course, all completely under lockdown conditions.
The industry has been phenomenal at not letting the pandemic get in the way of them doing their job
Sadly, for obvious reasons, they will not be able to enjoy anything like the same sort of celebration as our first cohort, but on the bright side that might save a few sore heads.
It really is testament to the students and our trainers that the most recent cohort have all passed their examinations and achieved a diploma for financial advisers under circumstances no one has ever experienced before, and are now starting their new career.
The industry has been phenomenal at not letting the pandemic get in the way of them doing their job. We have been inspired by this resilience and endeavoured to make sure our students can continue to move closer to realising their career dreams.
One unintended consequence of the school staying open is that students have communicated that the lessons and work were a fantastic distraction from what has been a difficult year, to say the least.
Fortunately, for some years we have operated in a largely remote way to make sure students across the UK can still join our programmes regardless of location.
While there are, of course, some aspects of face-to-face contact that lend themselves better to learning, we really have seen how useful online teaching portals can be in times like this and in helping to expedite the flow of advisers into the industry.
While we unfortunately do not look like we are going to be back in the classroom any time soon, this huge national experiment has taught us there are new ways to teach people how to be financial advisers, and any way to make the profession more accessible to different types of learners can only be a good thing.
Julian Hince is head of training at Quilter Financial Adviser School